Behind the screens of the Library: Document delivery

Published on
February 20, 2007

In the basement of the Jan Kopshuis you find the section Document delivery of the Library. This section has two main tasks:

  1. To manage the collection of the closed stacks and the ‘free access’
    collection (not including the ‘Special collections’) with the responsibility for
    book binding as well.
  2. Make requests available

Especially this last task was changed considerably during the last few years. Coordinator Document delivery Bertus Blankesteijn has worked for 32 years in almost the same function and is able to indicate exactly what has changed in this area. And that is quite a lot!

For tens of years the Document delivery was the section of the piles of library desk notes and the rows of copy machines. Library desk notes now belong to the past, as the process has been automated and photocopying has for the larger part been replaced by scanning. Bertus: “A landslide has taken place within the handling of journal articles. Until several years ago the requested article was searched for in the closed stacks, copied, put in an envelope and sent to the requester. Now everything takes place digitally. For requests from users and from other libraries we search for the electronic journal and the article via the Internet. This is then printed, scannned, a PDF file is made and placed on our server. By email the client receives a message where the PDF can be downloaded”. Within this process scanning would seem to be superfluous, so Bertus admits, but he responds that this is necessary because of agreements with publishers: “For this we make use of a batch scanner, which at enormous speed can handle great amounts”. The financial handling is coupled to the barcode system too.

Bertus points to the map on the wall of his office: “Later, in the Forum, it will all be more compact, we have fewer locations, deliveries can be even faster and we have longer opening hours”. Long rows of rolling book cases have already been sketched in in the future closed stacks rooms. “The new cases have already been ordered”, he tells us enthusiastically.

(Newsletter 1-2007)